Tomorrow, summer screeches to a halt for Worcester schoolkids. The yellow bus flashes its red lights and stops, the door swooshes open, and that’s the deal until June.
It’s a really good deal, too, though the pupils are too young and preoccupied to fully appreciate that.
We’re happy for everyone who’s going back, or perhaps kicking things off with kindergarten. We wish the city’s public school system a very good start under its new and homegrown Superintendent Maureen F. Binienda.
And, we’re glad to see the school year get going.
Summer is wonderful, but one of its unsung glories is that it sticks to schedule. It fades. While we surf those fun, freer days in the sun, summer is all the while ferrying us to fall. There’s work ahead, and learning, week after week — and a coming summer on the distant horizon to refresh and rejuvenate us.
The first day of school has its particular jobs to do: getting the jitters out, and sending forms home to be filled out.
By day two or three, school has settled in its seats and summer’s a closed book, dimly remembered.
Despite the nonchalant looks some older students will freeze to their faces tomorrow, Aug. 29, the start of a new school year is pretty momentous for the whole city. Even people no longer involved in school comings and goings might catch some September fever, and look over their own lives to see where there’s room for new pursuits, or for turning old ones up a notch.
Like summer, the palpable sense of hope that accompanies a new academic year is fleeting.
Problems crop up — that’s an understatement, in a system as complex and encompassing as public schools. Frustrations fester. Coursework and pressures can weigh down struggling students and the most prepared students alike.
But some of the first-day drive and excitement deserves to be kept alive across the school year, at least in the minds of everyone involved. The purpose and promise of school, so evident after summer’s rest, is always there, and always inspiring.
We adults have our homework to do. And we do it, with varying degrees of success.
Administrators, teachers, counselors, parents, leaders, lawmakers and others work year-round to improve school safety, the condition of the buildings, the budget, the quality of teaching, supports for students of all types, supplies, topics taught, extracurricular activities, start times to address sleep needs of teens, graduation rates, global competitiveness, assessment systems, and the myriad other issues that will always arise and whose solutions will never be settled.
Education, after all, is as important a responsibility as it is rewarding. There is no vacation from giving our young people the skills and opportunities they need to eventually lead lives of contribution and self-realization.
Children do their part naturally. They bring to the task deep curiosity and a pure desire to learn.
It all glides on optimism.
Our wish for Worcester school students is a year that helps take them to a place that will serve them their whole lives: deservedly confident in what they know, never satisfied that they know enough, and desiring to do something with it all.
Waxed floors, new clothes, jangling bells, leadership changes, School Committee meetings, parent-teacher conferences, laughs, locker slams, tears, fears and five-page essays eaten by the dog notwithstanding — school is about one thing: each and every child who enters the door.
Let’s send them to Summer 2017 — and beyond — smarter, happier and better.
It’s not going to be simple, but that’s why so many well-educated and caring people love and take on the challenge.